This paper discusses the motivations behind the earnings management of listed firms in China and provides evidence on earnings management using various accounting measures. The literature shows that earnings management occurs most often before the issue of securities or when a firm is facing the risk of being delisted. While non-core income was widely used to measure earnings management in China, as it is easily detected, researchers are now focusing on accrual-based models. We explore the underlying causes of earnings management in China, and conclude that the two main causes are the concentrated ownership structure and the strong political and economic connections between government and the listed companies. We review the impact of corporate governance mechanisms and government supervision on earnings management in China.